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THE ROCK FATHER: THE POP CULTURE MAGAZINE FOR FAMILIES THAT ROCK.

Master Your Home: Hands-On with the Samsung WaterWall Dishwasher at Rock Father HQ...

Best BuyTHE ROCK FATHER™ has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product at a reduced price or for free.

When it comes to the house, I'm pretty "domestic," but keeping Rock Father HQ running smoothly isn't really that easy. There's a lot of messes, and with two little girls and a constantly on-the-go Mommy and Daddy, dishes can pile up pretty quickly, and getting behind can cause a real jam-up in the kitchen. When we bought our house five years ago, one of the things we inherited was a dishwasher that was unattractive, clunky and just plain bad. Always on the ever-growing "to-do list" for replacement, we'd actually stopped using it by the end of our first year here - washing every dish by hand for about four years... up until a few weeks ago. When the crew from Best Buy arrived to install our new Samsung - WaterWall 24" Tall Tub Built-In Dishwasher, it was a glorious occasion - and a day that I was really looking forward to.

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Gardening: Rocker DON DOKKEN Shares His Gardening Skills...

It's a weird thing, but a lot of people seem surprised when I tell them that I'm into gardening. Lately, it's when I explain that this very website has a "Home & Garden" section... and it turns out I'm not the only one that gets the raised eyebrow when it comes to having a green thumb. Today, Don Dokken, voice of Grammy-nominated rockers, DOKKEN, has uploaded an 11-minute video entitled "The Don Dokken Gardencast." It's the first episode of what Don's planning to be a regular podcast, though it's not clear how often he'll be featuring his gardening adventures. For this, he states that he works in the garden "eight hours a day, five days a week, when not on tour."

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Kick-Off Spring with Scotts Plus OxiClean Outdoor Cleaner and a $50 AMEX Giveaway!

Five years ago, right after my wife and I bought this house and moved in, I took to the outside with a spray bottle of outdoor cleaner to attack the siding and deck. Not only did it not work very well, but shortly afterward I discovered that I'd completely ruined a brand new t-shirt and shorts. The reason? Overspray from chlorine bleach, which I'd neglected to notice was the primary ingredient. Not cool. With evolving landscape and gardening projects, we're always looking for new and safe ways to do things, and that's why Scotts® Plus OxiClean™ Outdoor Cleaner was immediately intriguing - the ability to get the house, deck and all of the girls' Step2 play equipment nice and clean without harming our plants. Plus, it's from Scotts - a trusted brand whose products I use regularly here at Rock Father HQ.

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Container Gardening: Plotting & Planting with Costa Farms' Desert Escape Collection of Cactus & Succulents...

Desert EscapeThe folks at Costa Farms recently served-up a challenge for me. They'd send me an assortment of cactus and succulents from their new Desert Escape Collection, and I'd see what kind of creative container I could whip up with them. Thing is, we live in Northern Illinois, so these will be indoor plants for much of the year - and since we don't have a desert landscape, I'm not very familiar with working with these varieties, aside from handling them on occasion in the years that I ran some Garden Centers (a few lives ago). I thought it would be a fun project for the girls and I, but had no idea just how big a production it could become. What I thought would be a one-container project actually became five, and we had a whole lot of fun with this - creating some interesting miniature landscapes where adventure was hiding just below the surface. For a couple of them, you could even say that they looked like something from "a galaxy far, far away..."

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Home Improvement: The Complete Window Replacement of Rock Father HQ - Part II: The In-Home Consultations...

As I posted earlier this month, my wife and I are finally about to start tackling some of the home improvement issues that have been lurking within the property lovingly dubbed, "Rock Father HQ." If you're just joining us, the basic gist is this: In 2010 we purchased a 1,300 sq. ft. home in Chicago's Northern Suburbs, a house that was built in 1990, and one we knew had some issues. Like most homes, it looks pretty good on the surface, but when you dig deeper, there's some things that are pretty bad - several of which stem from the previous owners, two of which fancied themselves to be "handy" - and one of whom shoddily put in windows because he "got a deal" on them. Our first project is fixing said windows, and today I'm going to walk you through my in-home consultation experiences with Pella Windows and Doors, The Home Depot, Renewal by Andersen and Feldco. The fun part? I didn't tell any of these companies that I would be writing about this experience. Out of courtesy, I did reach out to the PR team for the company that did score our business, but only after my wife and I had already done the deal and paid for the job. Bottom line: This post is not sponsored by anyone.

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Gardening: Three Tips for Growing a Chemical-Free Garden...

As the Garden Section of THE ROCK FATHER is ramping-up again for 2015, we're planning our gardening activities for the new season, and in-turn are thinking about how to be as "green" as possible. In all honesty, "going green" when it comes to lawn and garden chemicals is not easy - and while I've made a mighty effort for the past five years, I've been unable to go 100%. With that in mind, the folks over at Birds & Blooms have offered-up three tips for growing a chemical-free garden that I'm sharing with you today.

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